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Identity Security Part 1 – Why It’s Essential

Morgan Holm

Morgan Holm

Aug 15, 2023

Identity Security Part 1 – Why It’s Essential

Organizations that use digital technologies require identity security. It is a key component of any cybersecurity strategy. The identity attack surface has been getting larger with the proliferation of contractors, remote work, 3rd party relationships such as partners and supply chains combined with an increase in systems and applications. This results in an individual having many identities/accounts that they need to do their job.

Digital Identity

What is a digital identity anyways?

A digital identity is a unique identifier used to represent a person, organization, application, service, or device. The identities and their associated attributes are needed to allow access to digital technologies. Various authentication methods are used to verify identities and authorization, or entitlements are used to define access to what resources such as data, files, and applications the identity has.

The Identity Defined Security Alliance (IDSA) recently released a report, 2023 Trends in Securing Digital Identities. Some key findings are that 90% of organizations experienced at least one identity-related breach in the past year, a 7.1% increase YoY and 68% of organizations with breaches suffered a direct business impact with the most substantial being the cost of recovering from the breach.

Identity Management and Directory Services

Identity and Access Management (IAM) or Identity and Access Governance (IAG) systems focus on provisioning, connecting, and controlling identity access. They are only the first step in helping to manage identities and access by provisioning to a directory service, but they were not designed for other important aspects of identity security. A multi-pronged approach or defense in depth is required to complement the IAM and IAG systems for identity security.

Active Directory (AD) is the directory service and primary method to provide authentication and authorization at 90% of the Global Fortune 1000 companies and organizations of all sizes. It is often synchronized to the cloud or federated to provide access to cloud applications and resources as well. This makes AD a prime target for bad actors to breach the network, move laterally and escalate privileges. Compromising the security of Active Directory (AD) has severe consequences, as it jeopardizes the integrity of the entire identity infrastructure. This can result in data loss, directory corruption, and system takeover, and may even lead to devastating ransomware or supply chain attacks.

In the blog post “Identity Security Part 2 – AD Hardening and Identity Hygiene” we will examine what you can do to reduce your risks by improving your identity security.

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